POL3272: Colonial Encounters

3 CreditsArts/HumanitiesBiological SciencesCivic Life and EthicsOnline Available

If politics classically is the exercise of power by rulers over the ruled, how have different communities, traditions, and contexts sought to organize this power and render it just? What are the lessons to be learned from looking to past experiences with political communities ranging in size from the face-to-face polis to the far-flung reaches of empire? How does the ‘discovery’ of other societies disorient our usual frames of reference for thinking about political community? What different frames might we use? What should we make of problems that seem to exceed the capacity of existing institutions to manage, such as mass violence and total war? The aim of this course is to examine exemplary moments that consider the radical conflict of interpretations that can arise when different cultures come into contact with one another (whether through trade, war, intellectual exchange, or the like), and how these exchanges transform the scale of political community (local, regional, global, universal). Here, we are concerned with large-scale upheaval, processes that are more than simply difficult political problems, but in fact transform the very institutions, relationships, and concepts through which we come to understand what political community is and can be. The substantive focus of the course varies according to instructor, and may include: Colonial Encounters; the Black Atlantic; Revolutionary Moments; Colonialism and the Post-colony.

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All Instructors

B Average (3.095)Most Common: B+ (21%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

125 students
  • 4.07


  • 3.17


  • 4.62


  • 4.28


  • 3.72



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